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Summer Reading for Successful Home Learning

by Cecilia Chard on June 23, 2014

Children's Books for Prekindergarten-5th Grade

By Kelsey Barrett

Here is a suggested summer reading list to engage students, spark their imaginations, improve their reading skills, and help them prepare for the next school year. 

Please note that the books listed below were compiled based on the assumption that students are at different reading levels. I have tried to include a variety of texts with varying situations and genres to build empathy and advance reading ability in students through both challenging and light reading. This inclusion of “easy” texts builds confidence in young readers.

There are also complex texts listed in each category to meet the needs of advanced readers and to encourage parents to read to their children to build vocabulary and the intrinsic desire to read for personal enrichment. This kind of modeling from adults is essential. Reading to your children builds deeper relationships and helps students academically. This is especially important during the summer months when students can begin to fall behind.

It is very important that you, as the teacher or parent, preview books for content and characterization that fit your personal values. This is in no way an attempt at an exhaustive list and certainly cannot fit all different opinions. This list in no way reflects the opinions or values of Istation.

My hope is that you will enjoy this list and that you will add your own spin that fits your classroom or home. One way to use this list as a summer reading resource would be to change the category titles to reflect difficulty and ask that students read a certain number from each category. Or you could print out your specific grade level range. I have included notes under each category to help you make the right choice for your students.

Happy reading!

Pre-K and Kindergarten

  1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  3. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  4. Love you Foreverby Robert Munsch
  5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  6. Adventures of Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak
  7. Dr. Seuss books: The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in The Hat, Horton Hears a Who, etc.
  8. Shel Silverstein poetry
  9. Fairy tale classics – (There are so many varieties here and choices that this one is really up to your taste and favorites.)
  10. The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
  11. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  12. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  13. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  14. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  15. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  16. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  17. I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  18. Adventures of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  19. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  20. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  21. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
  22. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  23. Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  24. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  25. Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter
  26. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  27. Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  28. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  29. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  30. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin
  31. The Mittenby Jan Brett
  32. Tar Beachby Faith Ringgold
  33. Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
  34. Pablo’s Tree by Pat Mora
  35. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
  36. The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
  37. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  38. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Check out authors Tomie DePaola and Mercer Mayer as well.

Many of the 1st and 2nd grade books overlap with the prekindergarten-kindergarten list. Students comprehend on a much higher level than they can actually read, so if you are reading to a child, feel free to select a more complex book. The reverse is true as well: 1st and 2nd graders might enjoy reading the more complex picture books or easy readers, including Chrysanthemum and The Adventures of Frog and Toad.

1st and 2nd Grade

  1. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder Or My First Little House series
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  3. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  4. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  6. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  7. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  9. Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  10. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  11. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
  12. The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci
  13. Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
  14. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  15. Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry G. Allard Jr. and James Marshall
  16. The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde and Mary Hollingsworth
  17. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
  18. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  19. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  20. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
  21. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  22. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  23. Amelia Bedelia and others by Peggy Parish
  24. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
  25. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
  26. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  27. Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  28. Portraits of African-American Heroes by Tonya Bolden
  29. Before You Were Here, Mi Amor by Samantha Vamos
  30. Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Dr. Seuss books are also great for this age group.

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade

This is a large category, but I wanted to include all three grade levels. Children are normally at very different levels of mastery by this point and need a variety of choices to meet their individual needs. Reading is a process based on basic building blocks (letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, etc.). You need to conquer certain building blocks before you can advance. For this reason some children will begin truly reading to learn and will enjoy complex texts that include age-appropriate themes.

Just as you need differentiated instruction within the classroom, you need different texts for different readers. Some of these books will be better to read to the child, and some they will read themselves. Reading to your children as they get older can be a great way to foster relationships and increase their interest in reading. Solid literature at this point is important. It shows the innate value in reading.

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
  2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (The later books in the series may be better suited for older audiences; use your best judgment.)
  3. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien (Read to child.)
  4. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Holes by Louis Sachar
  6. The Anne books by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  7. The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
  8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  11. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  12. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  13. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  14. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  15. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  16. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
  17. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  18. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  19. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  20. The Lemonade War series by Jacqueline Davies (The Lemonade War reveals the ending of Charlotte’s Web, so read this second.)
  21. Heat by Mike Lupica
  22. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
  23. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  24. The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
  25. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  26. The Princess and the Goblin series by George MacDonald
  27. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  28. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  29. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  30. Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
  31. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  32. Cinderella (As if you Didn’t Already Know the Story) by Barbara Ensor
  33. Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor
  34. Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys by Jane Yolen and Raul Colon
  35. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  36. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  37. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
  38. Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
  39. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  40. Because of Winn-Dixie by Katie DiCamillo
  41. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  42. Love that Dog by Sharon Creech*

*Sharon Creech explores mature themes that may not be appropriate for young readers. I recommend her to bring up a pure love of poetry, complexity of human nature, and touchy subjects as your students or children mature. Love That Dog is exceptional, but it turns sad as the main character deals with grief over the death of his dog. Her other works (Walk Two Moons, Heartbeat) are great but are better suited for older audiences.

Topics: Istation Home, Istation Training Topics, Adaptive Curriculum

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